Manufacturing Profits Rebound

Caterpillar, maker of the iconic yellow earth movers and bulldozers, reported first quarter profits of $233 million on Monday 4/26/10. The profit was in contrast to a loss of $112 million a year ago. Sales were down 11% from the prior year period. Cost controls allowed Cat to be profitable. They are now planning to rehire some laid-off workers. The company noted that equipment used in mining and oil and gas exploration were particular strong points worldwide. They raised their sales forecast for 2010 to a range of $38 to $42 billion.

Whirlpool, well known for it’s KitchenAid and Maytag lines, earned $164 million in their first quarter, a sharp improvement from a year ago. Revenue rose a dramatic 20%, in part due to a $300 million government rebate program aimed at increasing sales of energy efficient appliances. The company expects consumer demand to remain strong throughout the balance of the year. However, appliance sales for new homes is expected to remain soft, due to the housing bust.